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Campaign to help reduce cigarette litter

By Staff | Jun 11, 2020

During the annual International Coastal Cleanup, cigarette butts and plastic pieces are among the most commonly found items along beaches and shorelines in Maui County and around the world.

According to Tobacco Free Life, “The abundance of cigarette butts in the ocean and the toxic chemicals they leach into their surroundings have consequences for marine life in the area. Studies have shown that even small quantities of cigarette butts in ocean water can be fatal to fish and marine organisms.”

This is a preventable problem – smokers need to be educated and given easy options to dispose of the butts responsibly.

Luckily, this is exactly what’s coming to Maui.

Keep America Beautiful has awarded a 2020 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) grant to MOC Marine Institute to address cigarette litter here.

The institute will work with community partners to reduce cigarette litter through public messaging, educational programs and the installation of ash receptacles.

“Cigarette butts are the top plastic polluters and the single greatest source of ocean trash,” said Tommy Cutt, MOC Marine Institute executive director. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to educate consumers on the threats caused by cigarette litter and provide the tools and resources necessary to change behaviors.”

Communities implementing the CLPP in 2019 reported an average 51 percent reduction of cigarette litter.

Created by Keep America Beautiful in 2002, the program is the nation’s largest effort aimed at eliminating cigarette butt and cigar tip litter.

Since its inception, the program has been successfully implemented in more than 1,800 urban, suburban and rural communities nationwide.

Make no mistake: cigarette butts are toxic plastic pollution. Let’s get this garbage off our beaches.